Benefits of Mixed Ultimate for young athletes

Recruiting in schools and after school programmes can be a great way to introduce ultimate to young athletes. Since the physical differences  between 14 year olds are negligible, Mixed Ultimate helps create an equitable and respectful atmosphere when they get older. Mixed Ultimate training can set athletes up for success whilst also being an efficient coaching method if you have limited resources. The physical  differences between players younger than 14 years are negligible; this is especially the case for Ultimate, as many will be new to the sport and  are inexperienced. Having mixed training can help to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to play. If you focus on equal playing time for all  genders at a young age, they will develop skills on the field (ultimate related) and off the field and as a team (social); see the example of Grut

However, you will have to maintain an awareness of gender biases within your teams and training sessions. Despite little difference in the  physical capabilities of different athletes of this age, there is a big difference in the socialisation these athletes experience. Consequently, some  stereotypes and gender biases could likely be present within these U14 training sessions. You must be aware of and prepared to confront these  symptoms of gender inequity to achieve a more equitable experience for your players. 

If players learn together from a young age, they will likely gain respect and admiration for each other as athletes. This will be reflected in the team  dynamics and structure in the future, which will contribute to a more equitable Ultimate community. 

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